May 2017 eNews
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Maryland EXCELS in the Community

Maryland EXCELS is in full gear this spring reaching out to families to inform them about Maryland EXCELS. There are signups still available for Hagerstown Suns tickets in May. Visit here to claim your tickets!

You may have heard the advertisements on your local radio station, but just in case you haven't, click the links below to hear a few of the recent recordings!

June 17 is the Maryland EXCELS Fireworks Night at Prince George's Stadium! We hope that you'll purchase tickets and join us in celebrating the great work that Maryland EXCELS is doing in the community. We have a select number of tickets that can be claimed here! If all the tickets have been claimed, we hope that you'll still join us. Tickets at the stadium generally range from $9-19 and can be purchased online or in person.

New Maryland EXCELS Toolkit to Debut This Summer
Maryland EXCELS will be supporting child care programs and providers with a new online resource starting early this summer. The Maryland EXCELS Toolkit, which will be available to the public, provides information and resources to help achieve Quality Ratings, assess program policies and practices, and set goals for continuous quality improvement. The interactive toolkit is designed to gives users a personalized experience through navigation that’s easy to follow. The resources include video tutorials, articles, activities, and more. 

Maryland State Child Care Association:      
MSCCA Conference By the Sea 2017
May 5-7

The winners of the MSCCA conference giveaway are:

- Play Keepers at New Town Elementary (Baltimore County)
- Day Timers Early Learning Center (Baltimore County)
- CCDCS/AlphaBEST at Indian Head (Charles County)
- Barbara Akinmade, Family Provider (Montgomery County)
- Day Care Inc. (Queen Anne's County)

Congrats to our winners! We can't wait to hear about your experience at the conference! If you are attending the conference in Ocean City, share images on social media using the hashtag #marylandEXCELSvisitsOC

Step 1 - Return the Signed Voucher.
Complete and return Vouchers on the day of enrollment. Invoices that lead to the payment of providers for child care services are not generated until the signed Voucher is received by Child Care Subsidy Central (CCS). 
Submit signed Vouchers by: 
Fax: 410-229-0053
Mail: P.O. Box 17015
Baltimore, MD 21297
Step 2 - Review and Submit Your Invoice. When the Voucher is received by CCS, an Invoice will be mailed to the child care provider. Carefully review the Invoice to ensure all children are listed and have been provided services at the address on the Invoice.
Call CCS Central at
1-866-243-8796 immediately, when the Invoice has not been received to determine what has caused the delay. 
Submit completed Invoices by:
Fax: 410-229-0010
Mail: P.O. Box 17543
Baltimore, MD 21297
Step 3 – Checking on Payment.  Allow 3 days for the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) line
 (1-866-243-8796) to associate your Invoice with your Provider I.D.  If after three days the IVR does not state that your Invoice was received, transfer to a CCS Central customer service representative for further assistance. 
Dear Provider,
On Friday, May 12, we recognize Provider Appreciation Day, which is a day to acknowledge all that you do to educate and care for young children. Although your hard work and dedication are appreciated every day, we want to take this day in particular to acknowledge your commitment to quality care.
Maryland EXCELS thanks you for your tireless efforts to educate and care for the children in our state. To learn more about Provider Appreciation Day visit
Thank you,

Liz Kelley
Acting Assistant State Superintendent
Maryland State Department of Education
Division of Early Childhood Development


Children's Book Week May 1-7
Established in 1919, Children's Book Week is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country.  Every year, events are held nationwide at schools, libraries, bookstores, homes — wherever young readers and books connect!  This year, the 98th anniversary, over 500 libraries, bookstores, and schools will host Book Week story times, activity hours, and more.

There are many ways you can celebrate Children’s Book Week with the children in your program. Here are a few ideas:
• Engage family members by encouraging them to visit and read their children’s favorite books.
• Create a character collage where children can draw or glue a picture of their favorite storybook personalities.
• Make edible snacks from well known children’s books such as: If You Give a Mouse a Muffin by Judy Barrett, An Edible Alphabet by Bonnie Christensen, or Peanut Butter, Apple Butter, Cinnamon Toast by Argentina Palacios.
• Plan a trip to your local library.
Did you know that the Maryland Book Bank’s mission is to cultivate literacy in children from low income families?  There are many ways to get involved with the Maryland Book Bank. For more information visit
Additionally, children up to age 5 who live in Baltimore City or Washington, D.C., are eligible to have children's books sent to them monthly for free.  Check out these websites and be sure to share the information with the families in your program.

Baltimore City:
Washington, D.C.:


Tips!  Developmental Screenings versus Observation Practices - Using Developmental Checklists and Assessments

Developmental screening is a brief method completed by a parent or caregiver to quickly identify a child’s progress through foundational early childhood developmental milestones. The screening provides a general overview of a child’s ability to determine if additional assessment or support is needed and focuses on development in specific areas including relationships, exploring and learning, communication, playing, and movement. The MSDE website offers useful information on developmental screenings.
In contrast, developmental checklists look at a child’s individual development. The data is used to help parents and providers make informed decisions about how to work with the child. These checklists also help providers shape curriculum to enhance a child’s learning and to move a child forward in his or her development. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention offers quality developmental checklists called Developmental Milestones that can be used by providers. 
Early childhood assessment goes beyond checklists and includes a variety of methods for evaluating a child’s growth and development.  It includes observations, portfolios, and anecdotal records, as well as teacher and parent checklists.  Assessments also help providers make informed decisions about how to work with individual children. High-quality assessments can improve the way interactions and teaching happens in early childhood programs. Assessments can create quality improvement in the classroom and program.

Maryland EXCELS Workgroup and Training Schedule
Are you interested in attending a Maryland EXCELS approved Core of Knowledge Training? Would you like the opportunity to work directly with a Quality Assurance Specialist on developing, revising, and submitting documentation? Consider attending a Maryland EXCELS Workgroup or Training. 

Access the schedule here.
Follow Maryland EXCELS on Social Media!


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